The only problem I have with this is that I can see some people trying to follow up on the Azure Blades, since the deception at the initiation of the duel is easily 'bad form'. In a way it would make for an interesting espianoge based game between rival assassination groups being played out between two players who have no idea who the other is. Imagine the surprise of the King who finds that that the villianous fiend behind the rival assassin guild is none other than a close personal friend. Go to Comment
One of the core concepts that I have found is that most settings have only one form of magic, and nothing else. To work magic you have to fit into the basix X mold of having the special gift that no one else has, or perhaps spend a decade in a training school to learn the arcane arts. This is such a commonly held conceit that no one, perhaps our most enlightened Moonhunter has thought to challenge it. I can project a few possible outcomes to the advent of a new form of magic becoming a reality.
There are a few things to keep in mind though. A new form of magic is going to be less developed and certainly more raw than the established old style. The old style has been the dominant style for some time and is going to be free of the kinks and flub-ups that occur with the creation of an entirely new system.
Double Weak Scenario
There is a new form of magic, perhaps it sidesteps spell requirements, such as arcane components, or only requires gesture. Whatever the difference, the new form is sub-par when compared to the established system. After an initial burst of interest, the new style is largely abandoned to the vagaries of the sages and historians. A few esoteric foes dabble in the art, as a random factor, but the new art is museum quality and is quickly left behind and forgotten, like the steam boiler automobile, autogyro helicopter, and the new formula of Coca Cola.
Single Weak Scenario
The new form of magic is found to be on par with the the standard form of magic, but operates at a level that is weaker than standard. This could be the equivalent to discovering Low Sorcery in a world of regular sorcery. While it is signifigant, it doesnt offer much of a threat to the status quo, much like the OS's of microsoft's rivals. Or, the practitioners of the standard style effectively quash the new style and slam it with so much bad press that interest in the new art fails.
Double Neutral Scenario
Most likely in a high power, or high magic realm, a new form of magic is passe and given no more attention than the unvealing of next year's Minivan models. Mages are powerful in that the variety of magic available prevents heroes from automatically knowing magi weaknesses.
Single Neutral Scenario
As above, but there is a change in the mage community, the new art is recognized as being very similar to the old magic. This would be the equivalent of a new form of magic in an RPG so that the new form is designed to be equal to the old style to prevent alot of old material from becoming obselete, and keeping the playing field artificially level for gamers.
Single Strong Scenario
The new form of magic is more potent than the old form, but not overwhelmingly so. Perhaps the new style is way better at creating artificial servants like jacks and golems, thus rendering an entire branch of the standard form of magic obselete. The old style will be supplanted by the new style but the old style, with the strength of diversity and longer standing application is merely diminished in a fashion.
Double Strong Scenario
The new form is superior to the old form in every fashion. Practitioners of the old style are forced to adopt the new style, or face the end of their control of magic. Many older mages, especially the grouchy old arch-mages are going to be violently opposed to the new style as they despize change. There could be a coup of the young dethroneing the old, middle skill new magi might be able to defeat the old arch-magi, or by some other fashion the old are removed from relevance. The old style of magic lingers on for a while, being used in areas where it has slight advantages of application but forever replaced by the new style. This is like the change from propeller drived aircraft to the jet propelled aircraft. Go to Comment
Magic is not a replacement for technology, but in my realm it is present, and fairly common, with magi and sorcerers being respected and useful members of their communities. On the other hand, the majority of people live their lives without the benefit of magic.
Thus, if magic were suddenly extinguished, the peasantry and burgoise will not be much affected. A few luxury items will go away, but no big deal, their are common items to take over. The nobility will be unhappy as they are prime consumers of magic, but lacking magic, the impetus to develop tech will take over.
One of the reasons magic is not so dominant in my realm is that magic is mainly pitted against magic. Most magic protection comes from threat of magical attack, most magical attacks come from magical surveillance and recon. There is a fairly constant cold war of magical research and developement.
Example: Mortengases Ward Versus Scrying is a very strong and viable warding spell that protects the area warded from divination, and scrying magics. After so many years, a wizard creates a new scrying spell that is able to penetrate Mortengases Ward, rendering the ward obsolete. Not to be outdone, Mortengase has been developing a second version of his ward and tailors it to defeat the newest threat to penetrate his defences and those sustained by his allies. Go to Comment
The interesting thing about large systems, be it an organism, or society, or in our area of interest, a game world, there is a constant effort towards balance. Things that upset the balance have a natural tendancy to smooth themselves out in sometimes spectacular fashion.
Interesting topic, one that I had never considered in my own realm, but then again my own realm has highly deviant origins from the general flavor of fantasy found on Strolen. Aterrizar was created by a single person, a human from of all places, Northern California. He was a powerful mage in the modern day, but quickly tired of his conflicts with mages of opposing ideologies (Some of you may recognize the basic plotline of Mage, from White-Wolf.) He was very powerful, and sought a way to escape the increasingly hostile technological world of the Earth, as well as creating a haven for his beloved, a one time amateur musician turned vampire.
Aterrizar was inhabited by Terrans, primarily from the United States, also a sizeable number from Egypt, Asia, and Europe via connections with the mage. Following the creation of the poicket realm, soon magical creatures began to populate it, along with natiuve flora and fauna imported by another more biologically minded mage. Technology could exist, but at a level limited to the Renaissance era, with more advanced technology refusing to work, or even exploding if attempted.
The printing press was a quick re-invention, with many books, both from earth and new texts being produced. In my realm, books are common, though some cannot be reproduced via mechanical means, primarily spell books and texts dealing with magic, as their must be comprehension in the transcribing and cannot be done by the untrained, or machines. Go to Comment
There is not a watchers coven, and no mention of why there wouldnt be one. I do like the idea of a goddess of decay who isnt completely nihilistic, and does value something, especially her worshippers. On a side note, Sceleris and Sethalis would have made a pact, not a pack. Go to Comment
I do have one concern on the subterranean ecology. What do they eat? Farming and aquaculture are rather out of the question lacking in the sort of light required to grow plants, and with no plant life, there are no herbivores and nothing to feed the carnivores. Unless the underground kingdom is pretty much typical fantasy with a stone roof, there arent going to be rivers and streams everywhere. What do they do with their waste? What about the bypoducts of it, gases and poisons and such?
I think eating the dead would be more a matter of pragmaticism that could take on a religious nature, an interesting twist on the feast of the dead. Go to Comment
Esaquam, a stroke of brilliance! I had become bogged down in the farming of mushrooms, and some sort of fungivores, but your alternate biology approach is impressive. The inclusion of subterranean weather was interesting too. Go to Comment
Being an elder race, the nekron have rather advanced, but not exaggeratedly advanced technology compared to the other races. Living in a subterranean enviroment, surviving in a thermal driven biosphere, they have easy access to both large amounts of natural heat and raw materials.
The Nekron, with their access to thermal vents and magma veins are easily able to reduce ore to liquid metal. It is a small step to introduce bellows to blow oxygen through a crucible, replicating the bessemer process, or the blast furnace. Nekron steel is likely to be one of the best grades of steel available. If the dwarves knew, they would be sick with envy. With this abundance of steel, Nekron warriors are always clad in full metal armor, often llamelor, or scale armors, and some articulated plate armors. Given the high grade of the metal used, these armors are likely much lighter than surface comparable, and also likely to be stronger, and more resistant to corrosion.
Weapons are also heavy with metal. Picks might be the predominant weapon as they have mining connotations, but given the elder status of the race, all weapon types could reasonably be encountered. They would likely use bone, or shell from vent worms and such for the hafts and handles of weapons, but it would make pole arms, and regular bows very rare as such large pieces would be either very rare, or prohibitively expensive. Enter the Arbalest, or steel crossbow. The weapon is 99% metal, and packs a heavy punch, able to defeat armors at short range with ease.
Combat is going to dominated by individuals of exceptional skill at arms. The Nekron would not field large armies as subterranean enviroments offer insufficient room to maneuver, and too many places for bottlenecks and other impediments. In small unit actions, they wuold be nigh unstoppable. Downside, they have poor morale, and there is little fervor in battle. The Nekron are more interested in holding what they have rather than expanding their domains. Go to Comment